I won’t deny it - the 6.3-litre, 730bhp Ferrari F12 Berlinetta was the car I was most excited about seeing at Geneva. And it didn’t disappoint, though I don’t think it has quite the same elegance as the 599.
But now that the buzz of the first day is over, I’ve been wondering what my ‘real world star of the show’ is. Meaning that it must be in production form and not cost more than most people’s houses. The Vauxhall Astra VXR narrowly missed out, even though I think it looks fantastic and I have high hopes for the dynamics given the high-tech suspension and mechanical diff. And so it was that the cheaper, equally impressive-looking Fiesta ST got my vote in the end.
After all, whilst a £250k Ferrari is an extraordinarily intoxicating thing – even just to sit in - the Fiesta promises the sort of everyday accessibility and fun that will resonate with the masses in a way that the exclusive F12 never will.
And with a chassis as good as the Fiesta’s I have a suspicion that the 178bhp, 1.6-litre hatch could come close to rivalling the mighty Renaultsport Clio’s finer precision whilst maintaining more everyday comforts.
A chat with Jost Capito, Director of Ford’s Global Performance Vehicles, made me even more convinced of the Fiesta’s potential. Capito admitted that the already well-balanced chassis made the ST fairly easy to setup as a more focussed driver’s car, and even better he also reckons that the Fiesta “is very lively, and it should be really easy to get sideways.”
Capito was also quick to confirm that, despite this, the Fiesta would not be tricky to drive and would deliver all the usual accessibility and safety standards, both in terms of its dynamics and equipment. Ultimately you couldn’t miss the confidence that Capito has in the Fiesta ST, and coming from such an experienced and knowledgeable bloke, I take that as a very good sign indeed.
So whilst the Ferrari may be the most exciting car on the show floor, my bets are on the Fiesta for being the car that will deliver the biggest thrills in the real world. And that’s why it’s my star of the show.